Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has described the move by the Federal Government to recruit 40,000 police constables for community policing as a ploy to further undermine the establishment of the South-West Regional Security Outfit, codenamed “Operation Amotekun” by the states in the zone.
The group, which stated this yesterday at its General Assembly held at the Akure residence of its National Leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, rejected community policing, saying the scheme will not be as effective as Operation Amotekun in tackling insecurity in south western states.
National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, who read the group’s communiqué after exhaustive deliberations, lauded the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan and the six governors of the South West states on their unwavering stand on the country’s security situation and its architecture.
The communiqué read in part: “Meeting rejected any attempt to subsume Amotekun under the Community Policing scheme of the Federal Government, which is just being informants to the Nigeria Police. Amotekun should be independent in carrying out the security of residents of South-West with defined operational cooperation with the police, but not its subordinate.
“That while Amotekun has now come to stay, there must be no let or hindrance in the pursuit of a federal Nigeria, so we can revert to the multi-level policing status of Nigeria of the past which saw the Nigerian Railway Corporation having its own police.
“In this regard, we are happy with the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, declaration of support for issues in federalism, especially multi-level policing and we enjoin the National Assembly to see it as the urgent business of now. Meeting commended the South-West governors for standing firm on Yoruba consensus on Amotekun without blinking. They showed they are proper born.
“It equally appreciated our friends in Ohanaeze, PANDEF and Middle Belt Forum, who stood solidly with us. Special recognition was taken of those individuals who spoke in clear language at the moment of crisis such as Prof. Wole Soyinka, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana and others too numerous to mention. They shamed the agents of backwardness who opposed Amotekun and by extension the right of vulnerable groups in Nigeria to defend their lives.”
While emphasising that Amotekun is a battle won in federalism war, Odumakin maintained that the struggle to assert the right of the South-West to establish operation Amotekun “is a battle won against the imperial Federal Government by the strong will of the West and its freedom-loving friends across Nigeria.”
He added that “meeting further noted that but for the depth of despair unitary rule has sunk Nigeria, states having security guards should not have been any issue as the 1999 Constitution recognises the right of states to protect lives and property and ‘State’ does not mean only Federal Government, but states and local governments.
“Meeting affirmed that Yoruba would find it hard to oppose Amotekun in any other part of Nigeria if it owns Hisbah, Lafiya Dole and harbors Boko Haram and Miyetti Allah that are tormenting the country and making President Donald Trump to consider placing Nigeria on travel ban.”
On the killing of Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, daughter of the National Leader of Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, the group expressed dismay over the sudden conclusion of investigation by the police.
While terming the murder of the 58-year-old by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen as a political assassination, Afenifere decried that the police refused to brief the family of the deceased before stopping investigation, hence its conclusion of a “state cover-up” of her death.
“Meeting expressed its disgust with the Nigeria Police Force that almost seven months after the murder of our leader’s daughter; the police have stopped any form of investigation into the dastardly act without any briefing to the family.
“We are left with no option at this stage than to conclude that she was a victim of political assassination, necessitating state cover-up. We challenge the police to do its job on this matter in spite of our disappointment with them.
“We also invoke her spirit to remain restless until the killers and masterminds of her death are exposed and brought before the temple of justice,” Afenifere said.
The group also spoke on the imbroglio in Oyo State in respect of the directive that elected chairmen who were earlier sacked by Governor Seyi Makinde should return to their offices.
The groups said: “Meeting condemned in the strongest terms, the lawlessness going on in Oyo State over local government dissolution following the call for self-help by the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
“We are miffed that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) is not appraised of the fact that Section 7 of the constitution, which provides for the administration and finance of local governments as the duty of states and not the Federal Government.
“Any pupil lawyer should know that you cannot enforce judgement a state is not party to. He is forcing a judgement Oyo is not a party to. Besides, there are two cases in court on the Oyo local governments’ crisis that the AGF and IGP should have waited for their determination before instigating the lawlessness being precipitated in Oyo State.
“We commend the state government for the maturity with which it has handled the matter and it is encouraged to continue on that line until the court decides. The Federal Government should bury its head in shame for being agent of destabilisation once again.”
In another development, Afenifere urged governors across the South-West to investigate what it described as “arson” on the biggest markets in Yorubaland with an appeal that security should be increased around markets and business facilities.